FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2012
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
AACOM Signs on to Amicus Brief
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, et al
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) has joined with 28 other health professions education and medical organizations in signing on to an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) amicus brief supporting the University of Texas at Austin in its case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, et al. The University is seeking to maintain the ability of colleges and universities to consider a wide range of factors, including race and diversity, in the admissions process.
The case focuses on the general admissions process, and the amicus brief specifically addresses the need for holistic admissions processes at the nation’s medical schools. Citing successful arguments from previous landmark cases (University of California Regents v. Bakke and Grutter v. Bollinger), the brief speaks both to the need for an increasingly diverse health professions workforce to meet the health needs of this country’s diverse patient population, and to the educational benefits of a diverse medical student body.
AACOM believes that broad, holistic medical school admissions policies that consider a variety of factors beyond grades and Medical College Admissions Test scores—including race and ethnicity—are necessary to ensuring a diverse, well-rounded physician workforce capable of overcoming current health disparities. Increased racial and ethnic diversity within the physician workforce will help to both alleviate physician shortages in underserved areas and develop a cadre of physicians whose cultural competence will allow them to provide the most effective health care possible to patients in high-need areas, serving a public purpose that is currently unaddressed.
In addition, AACOM believes that a diverse medical student population contributes to educational excellence for all medical students, by promoting empathy, emotional intelligence, cultural competence, and exposure to diverse points of view. While race and ethnicity account for just one aspect of diversity, they are important components of ensuring that all medical students are able to understand and value disparate viewpoints, and to develop treatment plans for patients from differing backgrounds that maximize effectiveness and efficiency in the health care system.
The nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine have a long tradition of employing holistic admissions processes—processes which AACOM believes contribute to the development of well-rounded physicians who are prepared to meet the challenges of 21st century health care demands. Without medical colleges’ ability to include race and ethnicity in these processes, medical education, medical students, and, ultimately, patients requiring appropriate health care services will suffer.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine promotes excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and fosters innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.
Quote from Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine:
“I am very pleased that AACOM has signed on to this critical amicus brief. I urge the Court to consider the best interests of medical students and the patients they will serve, and uphold the right of colleges and universities to take a wide variety of factors into account in their admissions decisions.”
View the amicus brief.
View other Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin documents.
Pamela Murphy, MSW
Director of Government Relations
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine